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The best management advice I’ve ever had

The best advice I’ve ever heard relating to business, management and indeed life, is three very simple words:

“Don’t think, know”.

How does this apply to corporate responsibility?

Look at it this way:

Don’t assume that the way you did stakeholder engagement last year is going to be the best way this year. Find out what else you might do, how you might improve the process and tailor it to your audiences.

Don’t think that your corporate responsibility website works well, just because a few people said it was OK. Test it. Work out what links are responded to. Find out what text works by tracking entry and exit pages from your website

Don’t assume that people like me read your CR/sustainability reporting. We don’t, unless we have a reason to, or unless you engage us in an interesting way. I’m amazed by the emails I get from companies who blithely assume I have spend my evenings, lunchtimes or working day reading their dull, badly written report. Find out who reads it, and ask them what they liked. Do a focus group, for example. Incentivise people to read it (good lunch, charitable donation) and ask for tough criticism.

I could go on. But you get my point.

I find myself assuming things every day that I don’t actually know.

I need to constantly remind myself never to assume, always to try and know, before having an opinion, or making a decision. I know it’s the same for others.

We need to constantly question our assumptions and keeping asking ourselves, “what is my opinion really based on?”

Easy to say, hard to do. Here’s a good book on the topic.

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